Date: Wed, 11 Nov 2009 13:26:07 -0600
Reply-To: DCHAS-L Discussion List <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**LIST.UVM.EDU>
Sender: DCHAS-L Discussion List <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**LIST.UVM.EDU>
From: Kadye Hill <khill**At_Symbol_Here**WCSTEXAS.COM>
Subject: Re: Setting Up Spill Kits...
In-Reply-To: A<4AF98FCA.9B43.00BA.1**At_Symbol_Here**>
When working with small spills (eg. 20mL or less) which can normally be
disposed of by lab pack, any absorbent material determined to safely
work on that particular material will work.  You can always find the
best way to clean up specific chemical spills on the chemical MSDS.
However, when working with larger spills (those that cannot easily be
disposed of by lab pack) the cost of disposal will differ significantly
between absorbent pads and loose material.  As I'm sure you can conclude
for the material within an absorbent pad to be stabilized you have to
either breakdown the pad or incinerate it.  For loose material
stabilizing the chemical is much easier.  If you are looking for a
universal type spill kit then some type of earthen material will most
likely be the most economical option.  If you are looking to create
spill kits particular to the chemicals your labs will be using, there
are multiple products on the market that are made for specific chemicals
(eg. Mercury, Solvents, HF).  I would definitely check your federal and
state regulations for disposal of spill material for the chemicals used
in your labs; or you could just check with your chemical disposal

I personally have a preference when I am treating spill waste (pads are
very hard to stabilize), but both pads and powders have their
advantages.  Pads are great for containing spills to one area, but are
difficult to pack up for disposal.  Powders can have positive properties
like neutralizing agents, vapor suppressants, color changing, but they
also can be hard to pick up and can produce extremely exothermic
reactions.  At our site we use both, but each spill is evaluated and the
best method of clean up for that spill is used.

Kadye Hill
Research & Development Chemist
Waste Control Specialists LLC
Phone: 575-394-4300 ext. 104
-----Original Message-----
From: DCHAS-L Discussion List [mailto:DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**] On Behalf Of
Margaret Rakas
Sent: Tuesday, November 10, 2009 3:08 PM
To: DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**LIST.UVM.EDU
Subject: [DCHAS-L] Setting Up Spill Kits...


We're setting up a new 'wet' science building and while we have 'spill
kits' here, I would like to find out what others find useful to keep on
hand and deal with:

1) Small (1 gallon or less) solvent spills --acetone, ethanol, the like

2) Acid/base spills

I am particularly interested whether you have chosen to go with the
'universal' sorbent pads OR instead use a powder that (at least in the
case of acid/base spills) neutralizes.  I can see the benefit from a
powder for flammable spills--there isn't the issue of packaging a
solvent-soaked combustible pad for safety, until the next lab pack--but
I would think that using a neutralizing agent pretty much means the
vapors are going to lead you into respirator use.  

Any products or methods you've loved, please let me know!
Many thanks,

Margaret A. Rakas, Ph.D.
Manager, Inventory & Regulatory Affairs
Clark Science Center
Smith College
Northampton, MA. 01063
p:  413-585-3877
f:   413-585-3786 

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